Skagit Swing Part II
Got back for one more shot at the Skagit's elusive steelhead yesterday. Typically for this year, the Sauk had blown out just before I arrived.
I met up with Tyler (down from BC for the week) at Howard Miller and we decided to give the upper Skagit our morning's attention (ditto from my last trip). There were a few fish in the rivers after the last good shot of water -Tyler had gotten a 10/11lb buck in the Sauk on Tuesday and a flyfishing guide had gotten his sports into two steelhead on that same day.
The run on the upper Skagit fished well, but neither of us were able to move a fish. Decided the next stop would be the (in)famous Mixer. I started up very high in this run and was greeted with a good *slam* out in the main current. The rod bent over, line peeled off, and I was certain I was into a good steelhead. Then, just like my last trip, the fish gave up and I reeled in a long bright sea-run dolly.
I explored some nice water upstream while Tyler worked the main run, then returned to see what was happening. He'd gotten a good grab in the heart of the Mixer, but was unable to get the fish to come back.
I went below to a riffle on the inside of the Mixmaster as he continued through the run. The Mixmaster riffle was fishing really well and I glanced up to see the sun shine unexpectedly through the clouds, turning thousands of tiny raindrops into as many sparkling diamonds. As I was staring stupidly at this natural phenomenon, a steelhead took the fly very gently as it finished it's swing. Just as I was about to yank it away from the light plucking, the rod absolutely *buries* and the line starts to sing off the reel and then . . GONE!
Tyler later chuckled, "I knew you'd lost one" and I can only guess how far my OH F*** was audible.
I tried to get the fish to come back, the proceeded down into the softer water of the main Mixmaster run. Tyler started at the shallow riffly head of the run where I'd just missed that fish and wasn't 5 casts into it before I hear, "All RIGHT!!" and look up to see a bright steelhead doing the vertical tango in the riffle. A good run, a little bulldogging, and another leap later and the fish is being admired and released. Beautiful deep-bodied bright hen, probably 12-13lbs and still sporting active sea lice.
A few more casts and a little celebrating and that was it for our day on the Skagit. Driving home, i noticed that the Sauk was also coming back in and should be fishable by Friday morning/afternoon.
Tight Line Y'All!